Why I changed my entire personality when I met The Rock

Well, The Rock has just opened in the movie Doom and the reviews are universally dreadful. Not only they are dreadful – but the time wasted watching the movie seems to be making the reviewers ANGRY. Example.

As long-time readers know, I had “a moment” with The Rock which was forced upon me by my dear friend and partner in crime Mitchell. I did not WANT to “have a moment” with The Rock … but I was FORCED to. Just want to make that clear.

Story below. It’s a re-post. It bears repeating.

A couple years ago, The Rock hosted Saturday Night Live. If I recall correctly, AC/DC was the musical guest.

I know a couple of the people in the cast of SNL in a rather peripheral way from Chicago. We all share very good friends, from the old days of improv comedy (ahem. Mainly M..) I used to watch Tina Fey (now the head writer) perform improv, years ago, in a teeny raucous club in Wrigleyville, with all of my friends.

Mitchell is very close to one of the cast members – and she got us tickets to the show.

Mitchell and I did not sit in the regular audience. We were ushered into the plush VIP room at the back of the theatre. This room has a glass window looking out on the stage, tons of TV screens, and a table of drinks for all. It’s like being in the important-people boxes in baseball stadiums. So Mitchell and I were crammed in back there, having some cocktails, hanging out with the other VIPs, having a great time.

The show was fun – and The Rock was actually quite good. Willing to laugh at himself, poke fun at his image, all that.

Afterwards, we met up with our friend in the cavernous backstage hallway, and she took us down the street to the cast party.

The SNL cast party is a rotating affair, held in a different venue every week. Fans somehow get wind of where the party will be, and line the block, waiting for the cast to arrive. It’s invitation-only, obviously. I had my first kind of red-carpet experience, as Mitchell and I walked through the gauntlet with our friend, throngs on either side, as she signed autographs, people yelled out to her, and frantically scanned OUR faces to see if we were important.

As you can imagine, it was a riot. We had a blast.

There was a huge dinner served. I can’t help it, but I have to name-drop. It’s not my fault. It’s just that they all were there.

I talked with Molly Shannon for a bit. I LOVED her. She was very sweet, very neurotic, concerned that I was having a good time and felt welcome. We also had a couple of friends in common. “Have you heard from so-and-so recently?” she asked me. Nice woman.

Colin Quinn’s manners were repulsive. Can’t stand that guy. I don’t care if he reads this.

I fell so in love with Will Ferrell that even though we also have friends in common and it would have been natural to say, “Hi … I am actually friends with Window Boy … yadda yadda …” I couldn’t say one word to him. He seemed so nice, so relaxed – chatting with Mitchell, laughing, normal – but I feared I would blurt out, “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!”, like Holly Hunter in Raising Arizona, and make some huge embarrassing scene at the Saturday Night Live cast party.

Lorne Michaels and all the big-wigs sat over at the important table, wining and dining their guest of the evening The Rock.

I could not have cared LESS about The Rock.

I was too busy quivering in my stilettos about Will Ferrell. And taking Colin Quinn’s sleazy arm off my shoulders.

Mitchell and I were two peas in a pod. We star-watched, but we also just had a blast with each other. It was great.

Finally – Mitchell told me that he works with two 17-year-old kids, both of whom LOOOOOOOOOVE The Rock, and he had promised them that he would try to get The Rock’s autograph. However – in the scenario in which we now found ourselves – it was quite a daunting proposal. The Rock was sitting next to Lorne Freakin’ Michaels, eating shrimp, sipping a glass of wine … and it was clearly a crowd where everybody there (except for Mitchell and I) was famous. Asking for autographs was kind of not cool. No, not KIND OF “not cool” – but BLATANTLY un-cool. When you’re the only non-famous person at a party of celebrities – you really need to keep that autograph-seeker and celebrity-watcher energy in check. It’s just not cool.

But there was the FACT of the two 17 year olds. So Mitchell somehow roped me into going over to the VIP table and asking for The Rock’s autograph.

It took 20 minutes of convincing for me to agree to do this. I’m not a big autograph-hunter, anyway. I respect the privacy of the stars I see on the street, or that I encounter at the Actors Studio … I saw Gena Rowlands once on the street – I wouldn’t ask her for her autograph. It’s not my style. I don’t judge people who DO ask for autographs. Just saying it is not my style.

Mitchell was determined to get this man’s autograph, though, and he justified to me why I had to be the one to ask: “It won’t work if I do it! It’ll be weird – cause I’m a guy – and he’ll feel weird about it … Just go over there and be all girlie, and flirty and he’ll LOVE it – he won’t mind giving you an autograph at all!”

My natural temperament is the opposite of girlie and flirty. I am also (all evidence to the contrary) very shy. I resisted this with all my might.

“No! I don’t want to! I’m too embarrassed!”

(If it had been Ewan McGregor, I would have had no problem. I would have made for DAMN sure that I somehow “bumped into him” at the party. But – to debase myself for The Rock???)

Finally…. what the hell … Mitchell’s pleading got through. How could I disappoint those two 17 year old kids? How excited they would be!!!! I would be a hero!


I basically decided to just not act like myself at ALL, in order to get through the experience unscathed. I put on a completely different personality, in order to deflect my embarrassment. I could not go over there, and just be Sheila, because then I would ONLY be aware of my embarrassment, and my shyness, and my not wanting to intrude on his privacy. The man was having a nice dinner after a hard night’s work! And he was sitting next to Lorne Michaels! The only way I could survive would be to put on another personality, the kind of personality that doesn’t care about intruding on someone’s privacy, the kind of personality that is OBLIVIOUS to embarrassment.

It was a small acting exercise I gave myself: Do not, under any circumstances, be yourself in the next 5 minutes.

My personality-transformation occurred on my stroll over to The Rock’s table.

All intellect and cerebral worrying disappeared during that walk. All shyness and ANY capability of embarrassment dissolved. My walk changed. It became a sultry un-worried stalk through the tables. I didn’t care. I was carefree, nonchalant, unintimdated! I even adjusted my blouse so that the cleavage would be more apparent. This is a shameful admission. But it is true. The girl I became on the walk towards The Rock would not hide her assets. I secretly hoped that perhaps he might notice the cleavage and focus on that – as opposed to his annoyance that I was interrupting him at a VIP party.

I cannot defend myself. My behavior is indefensible. I know. But I’m just telling it to you like it happened: I whored myself for an autograph from The Rock. For two kids I had never met.

It’s terrible.

Stridently ignoring my own personality, I sultrily leaned down next to him, interrupting his chat with Mr. Michaels. What? Me interrupt someone? I would NEVER do that. Ahhhh …. but I was not ME, remember? But man. I so should not have been there. I cannot even tell you how much this was NOT the kind of party where you do stuff like this. But I remained oblivious. I gave him a flirty oblivious smile. He glanced at me blankly, like: “What the hell do you want?”

I said, in a whispery giggly voice completely not my own: “Oh God, I’m so excited to meet you … I’m friends with some one in the cast…” (I hoped that that would convince him that the cleavage leaning in on him actually BELONGED at this party.) I went on, needing to get it over with as quickly as possible: “You were SO GREAT tonight.” (I blush to report that I actually GUSHED. I GUSHED about The Rock’s performance.)

He nodded, calmly. Like a dignified Scorpion king. “Thank you very much.”

“My two young cousins promised me I would ask for your autograph. Would you mind???” (Yes, I spoke those exclamation marks. My voice remained breathy. I probably sounded asthmatic, but I was going for sexy)

Truth be told: He kind of didn’t want to give me the autograph – it made him uncomfortable in that setting. Lorne Michaels glanced up at me, with this blank look on his face, like: “Who are you? Are you supposed to be in here?”

But I remained oblivious (on the outside) to how much I was disturbing him – and it was that very oblivion which made him give in. My plan worked. If I had actually been acting like myself – well, first of all, I never would have gone over there at all. And second of all, if I had been acting like myself, and had seen the look of discomfort on his face, I would have immediately said, “Oh, I’m sorry to disturb you – Never mind!!” But because I put on this “I am oblivious” act, he had no choice but to sign an autograph for me, just to get rid of me.

Once he was done with me, I raced back to my table, completely abandoning my slow sultry walk. I basically SCURRIED back to Mitchell, and gave the autograph to him. Mitchell had been watching the entire thing from across the room, just HOWLING at my debasement. I sat back down and proceeded to writhe in embarrassment at the entire affair. I did an imitation of the blank expression on Lorne Michaels’ face. Mitchell made me “do” my voice, and my laugh, 20 times. “Do it again. Do it again!” We talked about it obsessively.

I kept saying: “Oh God, Lorne Michaels had NO idea who I was … And the guy SO did not want to give me the autograph!! … I re-arranged my CLEAVAGE to get an autograph from THE ROCK – HOW AWFUL!!”

Hopefully the autograph made those two kids happy for about 2.5 seconds.

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24 Responses to Why I changed my entire personality when I met The Rock

  1. Cullen says:

    I love this story. Too funny. I dig the Rock, but man, this was a poor, poor movie choice. He should have held out for Halo.

  2. red says:

    The Rock actually isn’t getting bad reviews – just the movie itself.

    I very much enjoyed him on SNL – he was totally cool with making fun of himself and that was very attractive.

  3. Cullen says:

    I also thought that SNL episode was great (must have been an experience seeing it live).

    I wish he would have held out for a better film than this though. That rock Vin Diesel is going to make much bank off Halo.

  4. red says:

    And seeing AC DC live was a riot.

  5. Friday Afternoon Sci Fi Movie Meme

    Yeah, yeah. I know. But it’s late Friday afternoon, it’s cold and it’s drizzling. Besides, I already had something to say about Buckaroo Banzai today, so I feel this is Meant To Be. This comes from Dan. The ones I’ve…

  6. Jeff says:

    I remember reading somewhere that Lorne Michaels always looks forward to the shows where athletes host, because generally they’ve been coached for their entire lives, and more importantly, used to doing things EXACTLY the way they’re told. No big hairy debates about whether this, or that, would work better that apparently they have to deal with from time to time with some of the really big stars.

    And…”dignified Scorpion King…” Classic!

  7. red says:

    Jeff – interesting. I hadn’t heard that but it makes a lot of sense. I am sure the SNL cast has to deal with a lot of terrible “ideas” brought to the table by people who want to show the world they’re funny. Who are NOT funny.

  8. Dave Rudbarg says:

    I think it was David Lee Roth who said that critics liked Elvis Costello more than Van Halen,because most of them LOOKED like Elvis Costello…….methinks he doth have ISSUES…

  9. Rob says:

    I am so disappointed to hear about the dreadful reviews of the movie, Doom. I am a Doom fan. The game was/is a blast in more ways than one. Done right and with a little advance, its an automtatic slam dunk. It should have been done right.

  10. Cullen says:

    I was a Redneck Rampage fan. Best first person shooter ever. Could you imagine Mojo Nixon as the star of that? With The Rev. Jim Heath as a background character. Would be awesome.

  11. Rob says:

    RRR made me dizzy and disoriented and I’d start getting sick about 20 minutes in. I couldn’t finish it.

  12. Dave J says:

    Rob, Cullen, I always assumed that Bruce Campbell would be part of any movie made out of Redneck Rampage. Because, um, come on, how could he not be? Have either of you seen him (as Elvis) in Bubba Ho-Tep?

  13. j swift says:

    Watched “Be Cool” the other night and went “No effin way” Thought he was hilarious.

  14. Cullen says:

    I own Bubba Ho-Tep. Love it. And I’m ashamed that I didn’t mention the King in a RnR reference. Yeah, Mr. Campbell with all the music by Mojo and The Rev. Horton Heat.

    I’ve been jamming the Rev. all evening since I posted earlier. I love this band.

  15. Jen says:

    I love this story. I think it was the first entry I clicked on the sidebar when I came to the site. Oh, and thanks for confirming what I ALWAYS felt about Colin Quinn. Yuck.

  16. Jon F. says:

    Great story! I could easily envision you going through that transformation. I wish I could do that!

    I liked Rock in The Rundown. He seems like an ok guy.

  17. Mark says:

    A couple years ago I was flipping through the channels late at night and came across one of the 37 shows Martha Stewart had on the Food Network. Her guest was The Rock and they were making chocolate chip cookies. At the end of the segment, Martha asks, “What is it that The Rock says?”

    “Can you smell what The Rock is cooking,” Mr. Johnson replies.

    Martha looks at the camera and says, “And the answer…is chocolate chip cookies.”

    I spent the next 15 minutes trying not to wet myself with laughter.

  18. Cullen says:

    Oh, man, Mark. I would have been hitting whatever recordign device I had at the time. You cannot duplicate comedy like that.

  19. Mitchell says:

    oh god Sheila…it was worth it they loved it and were very impressed by the struggle and sacrifice it took…im laughing my butt off!!!!!

  20. red says:

    mitchell – I swear, only you could get me to behave that way. I cannot think of anyone else who could BREAK ME DOWN like you did! Only you!!!

  21. Jon F. says:

    “Can you smell what The Rock is cooking,” Mr. Johnson replies.

    Martha looks at the camera and says, “And the answer…is chocolate chip cookies.”

    HA! I just LOL’d at that. Thanks for passing that on – not a bad way to start a Sunday morning!

  22. Wutzizname says:

    Red, I love this story, no matter how many times I read it. Not just for the excessive references to cleavage (you think you know me too well!!) moreso, because I can picture you changing your walk. Of course, you did it on the fly, but My imagination takes it further. I think of you in an alley somewhere, or in a hallway self-coaching yourself on how to walk. “Ok, this is sultry. Suuulllllltryyy. I am made of silk. I am made of silk….I am naked, and I’m covered in silk…I walk, and it makes me feel good.”

    I hope those boys appreciate that autograph. They’d have to realize what sort of sacrifice you went through to get it.

    Now, on another note…Do I notice comments from fellow videogamers in this post? I am among kindred indeed :)

    Doom (the game) was of course the greatest. If you’re nuts enough, there’s a GL version of it floating around somewhere so it’s not so terribly pixellated. Sorry to have heard about the flick apparently sucking so bad, but I learned my lesson about movies based on videogames when I got sneak preview passes to the 1st Tomb Raider.

    In fact, please correct me if I’m wrong, but I haven’t seen a movie based on a videogame yet that’s provided half as much entertainment quality as the game. Resident evil wasn’t phenomenal. Final Fantasy doesn’t count, really. House of the Dead….well…that was just bullshit. The fact that they’re making a sequel to THAT is enough to convince me that anyone can make a movie about anything if there’s an angle in their pocket. If I find that angle, I’ll make millions from a documentary about my nail clippings.

    Mortal Kombat was….nah, it was bullshit, too. it just had interesting fight choreography.

    The only movie that I can say was made after a videogame concept that was somewhat interesting, was the ANIMATED Street Fighter movie. Watch that subtitled, and you’ll feel that there’s a future for movies based on videogames. Keep watching flicks like Tomb Raider, and Resident Evil, and the interest in videogame movies will surely wither away to nothing.

    http://www.gamershell.com/download_5134.shtml Go here. Look at the effort put into animating the intro for Onimusha 3. If feature films can be made with an appeal like this, there will be a future for Game and Comic movies.

    Sorry for descending into a rant there, folks…Go Rock! Go Red! Yaaay Cleavage!

  23. red says:

    wutz – hahaha You and your imagination! Believe it or not it doesn’t take THAT much work for me to walk in a sultry manner! I just decide to do it and I do it! It’s all about just slowing everything down, and putting one foot directly in front of the other – the way runway models do. If you put one foot directly in front of the other, and you are a woman, it is amazing what that does to the movement of the hips. Voila – sultry!

  24. Just1Beth says:

    I just want to clarify- ACDC was a RIOT, not to be confused with a “Quiet Riot”, correct??

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